This is a compilation of Tennessee news and political stories assembled daily by staffers in Gov. Bill Haslam’s office.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam joined officials from the tissue products company Kruger Products L.P. to announce plans to expand its Memphis paper mill with a $316 million investment of new equipment. According to a company news release Friday, the Canada-based Kruger plans to expand its presence in the North American market by adding new technology to the Memphis mill that will increase production capability by 18 percent.
Canadian tissue manufacturer Kruger Products LP is investing $316 million to expand its Memphis facility, creating 100 new jobs and increasing the company’s local manufacturing capacity by 18 percent. The project will include construction of a new building at the site of its existing facility at 400 Mahannah Ave., and the purchase of new machinery.
Made in Memphis might catch on. Canada’s Kruger Inc. made it official Friday that the old Kimberly-Clark plant in North Memphis will get a $316 million upgrade including the latest tissue paper manufacturing equipment. The Memphis mill, Kruger’s K.T.G. (USA) subsidiary since 2002, won out over other, unspecified competition for the project because of the city’s winning combination of location, low costs and ease of doing business, economic development officials said.
Canada-based manufacturer Kruger Inc. has chosen Memphis from among several locales as the place where the company will invest $316 million to develop a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant. The news came a few days after the company, which is Canada’s leading tissue manufacturer, filed a $39.8 million construction loan for its existing Memphis facility at 400 Mahannah Ave. north of Downtown.
Volunteers from Shelby County and counties across Tennessee will soon be honored by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam for their service. Nominations are being taken through the Shelby County Mayor’s Office for one adult and one youth, 25 and younger, who will be chosen to receive Governor Haslam’s “Volunteer Star Award.”
At a Boys & Girls Club event in Morristown Thursday, in between speeches, honors, and announcements of an upcoming steak-and-burger dinner, one of the speakers offered this advice to the crowd: If they hadn’t seen the financial news of the day yet, they shouldn’t look. Gov. Bill Haslam was there.
District Attorney General Barry Staubus took his oath of office Thursday using a well-worn Bible he gave his wife in 1995 – one year after the Blountville native started working with the Sullivan County prosecutor’s office. “My roots run deep in this community,” Staubus, 52, said after Gov. Bill Haslam administered his oath at the old Sullivan County Courthouse.
Nonprofit joins businesses, schools Sumner’s COMPASS will welcome Gov. Bill Haslam as the keynote speaker of its annual Luncheon Series on Aug. 25. COMPASS (Community Outreach Making Partnerships at Sumner Schools) focuses on forming lasting, authentic partnerships between Sumner County Public Schools and businesses, organizations, churches and individuals who would ultimately improve learning and students’ success.
Tennessee state agencies have been instructed to assemble plans for how they would cope with losing up to 30 percent of their federal funds in anticipation of spending cuts by Congress. A letter from Finance Commissioner Mark Emkes instructs agency heads to submit two sets of plans by Wednesday: one for how they would cut 15 percent of federal aid, and another for reducing those funds by another 15 percent.
Governor Bill Haslam has asked state department heads to prepare budgets that cut 30 percent from current spending. A letter went out yesterday from Finance Commissioner Mark Emkes to all departments and state agencies using federal funds.
Tennessee’s governor and other officials are due to travel to New York City in September for the annual review of state creditworthiness by bond rating agencies. It’s a visit usually called “routine,” but this year is anything but.
Hollywood executives are scouting the Chattanooga area to film another major film this fall. WRCB-TV reported Friday that the city’s Baylor School campus could be the site of filming this October and possibly into November. Lisa Wheelous, location manager for the movie, said the project has been in the works for a long time.
“Will To Succeed,” a motion picture reportedly starring Oscar winner Helen Hunt, will begin filming in Chattanooga in the next few weeks, city officials say. “This is huge,” said Missy Crutchfield, city administrator of the Department of Education, Art and Culture.
Shrinking federal funds could cut into efforts to make state highways larger and safer, Tennessee’s top transportation engineer said Friday in Chattanooga. The state spends its own highway money mostly on maintenance and depends on Uncle Sam to deliver dollars for new roads, new lanes and better highway access, said Paul Degges, chief engineer for the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
Middle Tennessee State University has landed a partnership with the U.S. Army that will promote the study of unmanned aircraft. As part of the deal, the Army will give MTSU three remote contolled aircraft called Ravens.
UT saves $52 million in cost-cutting projects The University of Tennessee saved more than $52 million through 132 cost-cutting initiatives in a bid to maximize its leaner budget and build goodwill with the state. “One of the reasons we did it was, of course, it was the right thing to do, and the second reason we did it was so we could tell our story to the Legislature and the governor and hopefully they would figure a way to give us no change or an increase in appropriations,” said UT Trustee Doug Horne at the Effectiveness and Efficiency for the Future committee meeting Friday on the Knoxville campus.
A Dyersburg pharmacy has been disciplined by the Tennessee Board of Pharmacy for failing to notify the board of a new pharmacist in charge. According to the July 2011 Disciplinary Action Report, released by the Tennessee Department of Health on Aug. 15, Walgreens store No. 09465, in Dyersburg has been reprimanded and assessed a civil penalty of $2,200.
The Metro Department of Law is prepared to file a friend-of-the-court brief in the case involving a group of Nashvillians suing the state of Tennessee over the constitutionality of a new state law that nullified Metro’s nondiscrimination policy for city contractors. But it’s unclear when the city would file the amicus brief, which would allow Metro to serve as an impartial party to assist the court.
A second attempt to redraw Hamilton County voting districts failed to gain support, so commissioners are going back to their original plan. A new map of proposed district lines circulated among commissioners but will likely never be voted on, according to Chairman Larry Henry.
City Hall to show it cares They may not realize it, but for almost 20 years, callers to Murfreesboro City Hall have almost always reached the same switchboard operator, Hope Fair, who answers questions and cushions complaints at least 100 times each day. She’s not the face of the city, but Fair could make a case that she is the voice, as hers often provides a welcome relief to taxpayers accustomed to the impatient or automated greetings of government.
U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-1st, and USDA Rural Development State Director Bobby Goode were at the Farmhouse Gallery & Gardens on Thursday morning for the announcement of more than $3 million in USDA Rural Development funding that will be provided to 14 organizations and governmental bodies in east Tennessee for various projects. Goode said USDA Rural Development invested more than $1.3 billion across the state last year.
The Obama administration is crafting a new plan to manage the nation’s 155 national forests, including Cherokee National Forest in East Tennessee, for the next 15 to 20 years. At stake is the future of 193 million acres of forests and grasslands that are the nation’s single largest source of drinking water and home to more than 15,000 species of plants and wildlife.
Some Old Hickory residents are getting help keeping their land out of the Cumberland River, an erosion problem worsened by May 2010 flooding. Metro Nashville received $5.4 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a project to secure the riverbank in the Waterford subdivision.
It is August, and the Census Bureau is counting things again. This time it was items associated with school, which is just around the corner for children across the country. Ever wondered, for example, how much people spend on back-to-school clothes?
To some college students, the thousands in federal loans they spend for school each semester can feel like Monopoly money because it can be years before a bill appears in their mailbox. But unpaid debt, which for a UTC student averages $29,000 upon graduation, according to school figures, quickly becomes real, and a recent study by the Federal Reserve may indicate that students are assuming more debt than they can later handle.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says the unit 1 reactor at Sequoyah Nuclear Plant near Chattanooga automatically tripped. The commission said the incident late Thursday night was traced to a coolant pump and apparently caused no leakage.
The state of Tennessee alone poured nearly $400 million of its own tax money and federal stimulus dollars into a solar industry now facing pivotal tests in the political arena and private sector. That spending, outlined in documents the Nashville Business Journal requested from a range of state agencies, does not include other federal and local dollars.
Federal, state and local governments have committed nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars to Middle Tennessee’s fledgling solar market over the next two decades. However, the success of one of Tennessee’s newest industries hinges on a variety of factors largely beyond the control of the solar industry’s biggest backers.
CNN-Money reports that the Nissan Leaf expansion project in Smyrna is a major factor in Rutherford County’s 14th place ranking in its Top 25 counties in the nation for 2011 job growth, according to a news release from the town of Smyrna. While the growth of the national economy has been somewhat unstable over the past three years, CNN-Money indicates job growth for Rutherford County has increased by more than 37 percent since 2000.
Tennessee education officials say they’re taking steps to address teachers’ concerns about a new evaluation system that for the first time will use students’ standardized test scores as part of the process. Recent changes in state law — including teacher evaluations and toughening the curriculum — allowed Tennessee to win $500 million in the national Race to the Top education grant competition.
Judge apparently issues gag order regarding talks Parties involved in the schools merger lawsuit left the Clifford Davis/Odell Horton Federal building late Friday afternoon without saying whether they reached a settlement after a long day of mediation with U.S. District Judge Samuel “Hardy” Mays – or if they had reached yet another stalemate. Mays issued an order last week clarifying most of the legal disagreements in the case, but he chose not to impose a ruling on the parties when it came to perhaps the most critical issue — how and when to reconstitute the currently all-suburban Shelby County Board of Education into one county schools board with ultimate authority over implementing consolidation of Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools.
All eight sides in the schools consolidation case put in a full day at the federal building Downtown Friday, Aug. 19, in a closed mediation session aimed at producing a settlement of the remaining issues in the case. At the end of the work day, the only public indication of progress was that all sides had worked eight hours.
More than 2,000 Tennessee students, including many in Memphis, have applied to attend a new online academy in East Tennessee run by a for-profit contractor. But more than one-third of the applicants are not enrolled yet due to paperwork issues and other headaches that are frustrating parents.
It didn’t make quite the splash of, say, the opening of a new basketball arena, but a new player that could make a major impact on future economic development in Memphis made its debut this week. The board of the Economic Development and Growth Engine, a new government agency that represents a new, streamlined approach to local job creation efforts, held its first meeting.
A state auditor’s report regarding the 24th Judicial District Drug Task Force it troubling. The audit claims items confiscated during drug investigations were improperly used and received inadequate oversight.
It is best for local projects to be funded locally. But with the federal government having granted Tennessee $7 million for a variety of projects, Chattanoogans will no doubt be glad that our community is getting nearly $1 million of that to help bring the Riverwalk closer to Lookout Mountain.
Residents of this region of the Southeast are dependent upon the Tennessee Valley Authority for electricity. TVA must cover its costs by passing them on to customers in our monthly power bills.
The Tennessee Valley Authority supplanted the private enterprise Tennessee Electric Power Co. in the 1930s. Many changes in electricity generation have occurred since then, and more are on the way.